GROWMARK Board of Directors Executive Committee
Dan Kelley, Chairman of the Board & President –
Dan Kelley became Chairman of the Board and President of GROWMARK, Inc. September 1, 2000. He operates a grain farm near Normal, Ill. in partnership with his two brothers and son. Kelley is a 1970 graduate of Illinois State University where he received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in agriculture.
Kelley has been a director of Evergreen FS, Inc. since 1977, serving as president from 1985-2008. Throughout his career, Kelley has served on the board of numerous agricultural organizations. He is chairman of the Illinois Ag Leadership Foundation, first vice chairman of CoBank, and past president and current board member of the Illinois State University Alumni Association. Kelley has been honored as Director of the Year from the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and inducted into the ISU College of Applied Science and Technology’s Hall of Fame.
Kelley and his wife Pam have three children and seven grandchildren.
Rick Nelson, Vice Chairman –
Rick Nelson has served on the GROWMARK Board since 1990. Nelson operates a 2,100 acre cash grain farm in Paxton, Ill. He currently serves as president of his local member cooperative, Ludlow Cooperative Elevator Company, Ludlow, Ill., and is also a director of Heritage FS, Inc., Gilman, Ill. Nelson chairs the GROWMARK Board Governance Committee.
Nelson graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1974 with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics. Nelson was also in the 2009 class of Master Farmers of Illinois. He and his wife Pat have two children.
John Reifsteck, Vice Chairman –
John Reifsteck has served on the GROWMARK Board since 1993. Reifsteck operates a corn and soybean farm near Champaign, Ill. He served as president of his local member cooperative, Illini FS, Inc., Urbana, Ill., until it became a division of GROWMARK in 2006. Reifsteck currently chairs the GROWMARK Board Budget/Audit Committee.
Reifsteck graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Agriculture Economics and Education. He is a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) and sits on the board of Truth about Trade & Technology. Reifsteck was in the 1997 class of Master Farmers of Illinois and was selected by the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives as Director of the Year in 2003. He and his wife Nancy have 2 children.
Chet Esther, Jr., Secretary –
Chet Esther has served on the GROWMARK Board since 1994. Esther and his sons operate a 4,700-acre grain farm in Frederick, Ill. He currently serves as president of his local member cooperative, Two Rivers FS, Inc., Rushville, Ill. Esther serves on the GROWMARK Board Budget/Audit Committee and is chairman of the Compensation Committee.
Esther is a 2008 graduate of the Illinois Ag Leadership Program. He and his wife Lori have two children and three grandchildren.
GROWMARK Management Staff
Jeff Solberg, Chief Executive Officer –
Jeff Solberg was named Chief Executive Officer on November 2, 2010 and he assumed the duties of CEO on January 3, 2011. Solberg has filled many leadership positions at GROWMARK since he began in 1976, most recently as Senior Vice President, Finance, a position he held from 2008-2011.
Solberg has also served the System as Cash Manager, Administrative Assistant Treasurer, and Treasurer, assuming responsibility for FS Agri-Finance and Insurance Services. He served as Vice President, Finance from 1999-2008.
Solberg graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington in 1974 and received his M.B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1976. Solberg has served on the board of directors for several organizations and financial institutions and currently sits on the boards of several GROWMARK subsidiaries. Jeff and his wife Janet have two sons.
Marshall Bohbrink, Vice President, Finance and Risk Management and Chief Financial Officer–
Marshall Bohbrink became Vice President, Finance and Risk Management and Chief Financial Officer of GROWMARK in February, 2011. Bohbrink joined the System in 1976 and held a number of positions in accounting and auditing before assuming several Treasury positions including Treasury Operations Manager, Director of Insurance, Director of Financial Operations, and Treasurer.
Bohbrink graduated from the University of Iowa in 1976 with a degree in Accounting and Finance. He also holds an M.B.A. from Illinois State University. He is a licensed producer for commercial property/casualty insurance. Bohbrink serves as a director on the boards of several GROWMARK subsidiaries.
Bohbrink and his wife Kathy have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Brent Bostrom, Vice President and General Counsel –
Bostrom has served as Vice President and General Counsel for GROWMARK since 2005. Bostrom graduated from Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1978 and from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1981. He was admitted to the State of Minnesota Bar Association, the U.S. District Court, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, all in 1981, and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1985.
Prior to joining the System, Bostrom was a member of the Agricultural and Cooperative Law Practice Group at Doherty, Rumble & Butler P.A. and at Dorsey & Whitney LLP. He has practiced primarily in the areas of cooperative law and general agribusiness law for more than 20 years, after first obtaining several years of litigation experience.
Bostrom is a member of the Legal, Tax, and Accounting Committee of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC). He served as Chairman of its Cooperative Structures Subcommittee for many years, and previously chaired its Executive Committee. He is also a member of the National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives (NSAC). Further, Bostrom serves on the Board of Directors for the Ralph K. Morris Foundation and chairs its scholarship committee. This organization is committed to offering cooperative educational opportunities to youth interested in agriculture and rural America.
Bostrom and his wife Julie have four children.
Steve Buckalew, Vice President, Eastern Retail Operations –
Steve Buckalew was named GROWMARK Vice President, Eastern Retail Operations effective September, 2004. Buckalew came to GROWMARK from United Producers, Inc., Columbus, Ohio, where he served as senior vice president of their livestock operations. He has dedicated his career to cooperatives by holding positions with the Louisville Bank for Cooperatives and Countrymark Co-op.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from The Ohio State University.
Buckalew and his wife Sharman are parents of two sons and a daughter.
Kevin Carroll, Vice President, Energy –
Kevin Carroll was named Vice President, Energy of GROWMARK in September 2008. He joined the GROWMARK System in 1985 as a Financial Analyst, and has held various positions including Treasury Operations Manager; Manager, Energy Operations; Director Business Analysis & Research; and Region Manager in GROWMARK’s Western and Northern regions.
Kevin received a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois and an M.B.A. from Illinois State University and serves as a director on the boards of several organizations and companies. Prior to joining GROWMARK, Kevin was a grain and feed ingredient merchandiser in Omaha, Nebraska.
Kevin and his wife Tammy have three grown children.
Brent Ericson, Vice President, Grain -
Brent Ericson became Vice President, Grain on November 1, 2011. He joined the GROWMARK System in 1981 as an associate merchandiser for the Creve Coeur grain facility and six months later was promoted to assistant manager. In 1983 Brent joined MID-CO COMMODITIES in Bloomington and by 1985, he attained the level of senior commodity hedging advisor. From 1988-1989 he served as grain marketing manager of Midland Enterprises but returned to the System in 1989 as general manager of Grainco, Inc., A GROWMARK Grain member. In 1999, Grainco merged with Kendall-Grundy FS to form GRAINCO FS and Brent was named general manager.
Brent received a B.S. in Agricultural Business from Western Illinois University.
Brent and his wife Jean have two grown children.
Shelly Kruse, Vice President, Midwest Retail and Acquisitions –
Shelly Kruse became Vice President, Midwest Retail and Acquisitions in September 2008. She holds a B.S. degree in Business from Lewis University, in Romeoville, Ill., and an M.B.A. from Northern Illinois University.
Kruse joined the GROWMARK System in 1984 as controller at Bureau Service Company in Princeton, and later managed the company’s energy marketing and credit responsibilities. She transitioned to GROWMARK staff in 1996, serving the Iowa Region as business manager and then region manager. In January 2006, she was named energy division manager and moved to the corporate office in Bloomington.
Kruse and her husband Jim have five children.
Jim Spradlin, Vice President, Agronomy –
Jim Spradlin was named Vice President, Agronomy of GROWMARK in September 2008. Jim has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility since joining the GROWMARK System in 1982. Those positions include accounting trainee and Comptroller at Schuyler-Brown FS, Administrative Director, GROWMARK Regional Staff, General Manager of Piatt County Service Company and Ag-Land FS, and Central Region Manager for GROWMARK. He became the Energy Division Manager in 2002 and Agronomy Division Manager in 2006.
Jim earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics from Illinois College in 1982.
Jim is on The Fertilizer Institute Board of Directors. He was a past chapter director in Rotary International and has served on numerous church boards. Jim and his wife Lisbeth have two children.
Gary Swango, Vice President, Human Resources & Compliance
Gary Swango became Vice President of Human Resources & Compliance for GROWMARK, Inc. in January 2012.
Gary graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1973, where he was an FS scholarship recipient. He joined FS Services, Inc. in 1975 as employee benefits supervisor. During his tenure with the GROWMARK System, Gary has served in numerous positions including manager of personnel administration, manager of administrative services, market development representative, and director of corporate and member relations. Gary was named director of human resources in 1999.
Gary is currently a member of the Illinois Workforce Investment Board and serves on the board of the Advocate BroMenn Foundation, where he serves as vice chair. He also represents the Foundation on the Planning, Governance, and Farm Committees of the Advocate BroMenn Healthcare System.
Gary and his wife Julie live in Bloomington. They have three grown children.
Mike Woods, Executive Director, Strategic Research and Information
Mike Woods has served as Executive Director, Strategic Research and Information since October of 2011. Mike joined the GROWMARK System in July, 1974 as Potash Supply Manager. Mike has held several positions in the System since that time including Operations Coordinator and Operations Manager in the Farm and Home Division, operations and administrative positions in the Feed and Structures Division, Operations Manager for the Mark II Agronomy venture with Countrymark Cooperative, and Operations and Customer Service Manager of the Seed Division. In 2006, Mike was named Director, Business Analysis, a forerunner of his current responsibilities.
Mike earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Finance from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Mike served as an assistant college baseball coach as the Commissioner of the Central Illinois Collegiate Baseball League for 12 years.
Mike and his wife, Ellen, live in Bloomington and have two children who are both married.